How the parties line up and what campaigners want from them


  • Establish 3,500 Sure Start children’s centres by 2010.
  • Introduce fixed penalty notices for disorder for children under
  • Introduce new powers to require parents to pay compensation for
    damage committed by children under 10.
  • Reform and improve youth services and early intervention
    schemes for children at risk of involvement in crime.
  • Develop children’s trusts across the country by 2008 and
    provide £85.5m to help implement Every Child Matters


  • Increase discipline in schools and give powers to head teachers
    to expel the most disruptive pupils.
  • Give young drug users the choice of a treatment programme or
    appearing in court.
  • Provision for 20,000 extra prison places including places for
    young offenders.
  • Introduce supervision orders for parents of children who
    persistently break antisocial behaviour orders, and block housing
    benefit for families of young people who are convicted of more than
    three antisocial behaviour offences.

Liberal Democrats

  • Strengthen the post of children’s commissioner by making its
    power rights-based and wholly independent of the government.
  • Reform child support by putting child maintenance payments in
    the hands of the Inland Revenue.
  • Ensure that child custody decisions are made on an individual
    basis, with the best interests of the child paramount.

Manifesto for children from Barnardo’s, Save the
Children and the NSPCC

  • Increase the age of criminal responsibility.
  • Review the use of restraint, strip-searching and solitary
    confinement in custody and invest in alternatives to prison for
  • Put an end to the policy of detaining refugee children and
    ensure access to mainstream services for them.
  • Produce a national strategy for reducing child deaths from
  • Decriminalise children’s involvement with prostitution.
  • Invest maximum resources into tackling child poverty.
  • Ensure that improving the educational attainment of children in
    care is a main priority.

The Howard League for Penal Reform

  • End the use of prison service custody for children and seek to
    end child deaths in custody.
  • Introduce more restorative justice programmes.
  • Abolish antisocial behaviour orders and impose a statutory duty
    on local authorities to use community conflict resolution
  • Detention of children only in appropriate secure accommodation,
    such as local authority secure children’s homes.

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